Imagine my surprise when I realized a stylus works with the Amazon Fire HD (Kindle). When I first got the Kindle I tried using the stylus from the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1. It didn’t work so I figured my new tablet was not stylus enabled. Little did I realize there are two completely different stylus types. There’s the hard plastic narrow pointed Samsung stylus, and there’s the broader, softer rubber tipped stylus for all the rest of the devices. I’m not totally sure about the “rest of the devices” but you get my drift.
While it was my older brother that told me the device was stylus compatible, it was my younger brother who had given me a stylus tipped pen about a year or so ago. When I received the gift, I wasn’t quite sure about the weird rubber tip, but I graciously accepted the gift. Now, here it is a year later that I’m using the pen/stylus.
All Stylused Up with Nowhere to Go
Now that I can use the stylus, I wanted stylus compatible apps. Unlike my hubby who likes using the stylus because he’s extremely particular (aka anal retentive) about fingerprints on his screen, I wanted to use the stylus to take handwritten notes and doodle on occasion. That desire sent me on a quest to look for apps that will allow me to do just that.
Using 7Notes Free (for Kindle Only)
7Notes free was my first foray into stylus-enabled apps. You’ll note that the header says “for Kindle Only.” That’s because the Kindle version of 7Notes free includes the mazec handwriting input functionality. If you want the free mazec you’ve got to download the app through your Amazon account. While Google PlayStore does offer the 7Notes free app, the mazec app is sold separately ($3.99). But, if you download it from Amazon, the Mazec keyboard is bundled within the app. It allows me to handwrite and doodle for free.
Now that that’s cleared up, let me say this, the more I explored 7Notes, the more I liked it. I almost wrote this app off in favor of another more complicated app (I’ll write about that one later). However, the more I explored 7Notes, the more I enjoyed it (my people are sick of the plethora of email, messenger and text notes I sent while testing things out).
7Notes Free User Interface
When you first open the app, you’ll see the Welcome page.
It was the Welcome page that made me realize the version of 7Notes that my daughter downloaded was much different from mine. She followed my instructions for installing Google Play Store on her Kindle and then proceeded to download 7Notes from there. When we got to the Welcome screen, we both realized the mazec keyboard was missing (it’s hard to give it a try if it’s not there). No matter what she did, she couldn’t invoke it. To remedy the problem, she deleted the app and re-downloaded it from Amazon.
Once you’ve confirmed that both input methods work, tap “New” to create a new note. The navigation and user interface for this app are simple and user-friendly.
The images in this post for 7Notes display in landscape mode, but the app auto rotates and works just as well in portrait mode.
As you can see from the following image, your input goes onto the lower part of the screen and you tap the “Enter” squiggle to have the text applied to the note.
Changing 7Notes Input Method
If you want to either change the input method back to a QWERTY keyboard or adjust the pen color/stroke width, tap the “m” icon.
Doing so invokes a menu option for changing the style/input method. It also displays a Settings icon that allows you to change how the mazec input responds.
The one odd thing I found when using the QWERTY keyboard option is the location of the spacebar. The spacebar is located above the keyboard. It’s the same space bar option as if you were using the stylus. This grandma has grown accustomed to having her spacebar at the bottom of the keyboard (been that way since the good old typewriter days). I’m not so willing to change my spacebar habits at this stage in life. No QWERTY on 7Notes for me.
Saving and Naming a File
When you tap Done after creating a note, 7Notes automatically names the saved file with the date and time it was saved. To change the name, long tap on the file to invoke the menu option to Open, Edit Memo Info or Delete the file.
Tap Edit Memo Info to change the name.
While changing the name, you can also add a file icon to the file name (for what reason, I don’t know, but the option is there). There’s also an alarm option that will open a note at a specific date and time user selected (don’t understand why that’s there either, but ok).
7Notes App Settings
You’ll note there are three vertical dots on the lower righthand corner of the screen. Tapping that invokes another set of menu options named Connect, Memo Style, Memo Info, Settings and Help. Let’s take them one at a time:
Connect: With Connect, you can do the following:
- Send it as an email
- Send to Twitter
- Send to Facebook
- Connect to Evernote
- Connect to Storage
My preferred option is to send notes as an email. Before sending, choose your preferred format of either text, PDF, image or 7notes document. But, don’t let the term email fool you. The “email” options are rather robust, depending on the apps on your device. For instance, my email options include:
Memo Style: This option allows you to select things like font size, margins, line style, line feed and the most fun, background. You can either choose a background color from the 7Notes library of colors, or you can choose something from your photo album. If you have the Bitmoji app on your device, you can also use a Bitmoji in your background.
Memo Information: This is the same screen for renaming your memos, applying an icon and setting the alarm.
Settings: Through the Settings interface you can send emails, post to Twitter, Facebook and Evernote. There’s an On/Off Lines option and of course a link to Help.
Help: Tapping the Help option links to the 7Notes site.
Oh and Another Menu Option
From the Memo List screen, the three verticle dots on the lower right-hand corner invoke a different menu option. The menu items here are Create, Delete, Search, System Info and Help menu options. These options are self-explanatory.
Stylus Input Minor Glitch
There seems to be a glitch where if you have 7Notes running in the background and you reopen it, it will open with both the mazec and QWERTY keyboards activated (or two mazec keyboards activated).
It’s a small problem, just tap the triangle to hide the lower keyboard.
7Notes Free vs Premium 7Notes.
I did a little research online to see if I could find notable differences between the free and premium version. The biggest notable difference is the ability to convert handwritten letters into text. (aka convert mode). You could either convert the handwritten notes to text as you write, or you can come back later, select the text you’d like to convert and covert it then. Those are nice features as long as the app properly recognizes and converts the text.
I’ve read grumblings from some users complaining about the inaccuracy of the conversion. Both the favorable and less than favorable reviews are old. Most reviews occurred between 2012 and 2014. I’m not sure if there has been an update since then or if folks just aren’t writing reviews, but keep that in mind if you opt for the premium version.
Right now, the free version is working just fine for me. If I find that later on, I need the text conversion feature, I’ll dish out $7.99 for it. However, in the meanwhile, I’m happy with it as it is. Besides, I found another free app that converts handwriting to text. If I really need to convert, I’ll use that one first (I’ll write about that app soon).